I woke up around seven o’clock. We were still in Pennsylvania. The sky was a dull gray. My roomette was on the north side of the train, and I kept hoping for a sight of Lake Erie. I finally thought I saw the lake in the distance.
It started snowing. The blowing snow made verything I saw out the window look faded. It was hard to tell the difference between the sky and the ground — both looked white.
We had a quarter of an hour layover at the Buffalo-Depew station, so I got out to stretch my legs. A few smokers got out and miserably puffed their cigarettes while the snow swirled around. The people getting on the train bent their heads down to keep snow out of their eyes.
The train passes quite near the lower end of Onondaga Lake. Through the falling snow, I saw a Bald Eagle sitting in tree near the water, and half a dozen Canada Geese swimming out in the lake.
The Lake Shore Limited seems to carry quite a few people in plain dress. Maybe they were Amish, but the Amish aren’t the only group that wears plain dress; there are Mennonite groups who wear plain dress, Hutterites, and still others. I asked one of the train crew about them. He said lots of Amish (as he called them) took the train, and sometimes they took over a whole car. I said I had heard at least one couple speking what sounded like Pennsylvania Dutch of Low German to me, but that wasn’t something he had noticed.
When we got to Albany, I had to move to a different car. There’s a one hour layover in Albany. After I stowed my luggage in my new roomette, I stood outside the train, just to be outdoors. A young man was taking photographs with what looked like a film camera, and I asked him about it. He was shooting outdated Kodak Gold color film, which he processes and prints himself to get certain specific artistic effects. I was suitably impressed. He wandered off to take more photographs. I talked for a bit with the sleeping car attendant, who grew up in Dedham.
Then I fell into conversation with a man from Australia. He and his wife had taken the train from San Francisco, with a stop in Denver, and a two day layover in Chicago. He loved both cities, and was looking forward to seeing Boston, and then New York. It turned out that he was a retired air traffic controller, and so I asked him about the recent FAA shutdown of air traffic in the United States. He said that of course once you have a glitch like the FAA had, you have to shut down all air traffic. But he also said that problems like that do arise when you outsource certain functions.
We got back on the train a minute before it started up again. By now, it was starting to get dark. But the light lasted long enough for me to see the Berkshires off in the distance.
The train arrived on time in Framingham. I got my car out of long-term parking just as it started pouring rain. I was thankful that it wasn’t cold enough to turn the rain to snow.
Now I’m home, and I still feel like there’s a train moving under me….